The University of Manchester S Gaskell

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Research Support Services

Abstract

Our overall aim in proposing the Manchester Discipline Bridging Initiative is to ensure maximum opportunity and delivery of cross-disciplinary thought and research across the University of Manchester, leading to innovative advances that would not arise from within single disciplines alone. To do this we will:

1. Build upon the current strong cross-disciplinary ethos of the University.

2. Establish a programme of activities (including a cross-disciplinary seminar/workshop programme and ?sandpit? discussion fora) designed further to raise awareness of cross-disciplinary opportunities in the University by involving clinicians, life scientists, physical scientists, engineers, and social scientists.

3. Provide funds to promote new discipline-bridging research projects, using mechanisms that will include pump-priming of new projects, support of targeted temporary staff transfers between Schools and Institutes, and funding of Visiting Researchers to establish new areas.

In the first instance, the MDBI will be focused around three of the University?s most significant areas of cross-disciplinary research excellence: Systems Biology and Medicine; Neuroscience and Imaging; and Tissues Regeneration and Biomaterials.

The University of Manchester, formed in October 2004, is now the largest in the UK by many measures and is explicitly committed to promoting and supporting cross-disciplinary research through a range of newly developed mechanisms. These make the University very well suited to carrying forward the programme of activities set out in the MDBI proposal and to ensure that significant added value results from this.

Overall research strategy of the new University, including the promotion of cross-disciplinary work, is developed by a Group chaired by the Vice President for Research (Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell) and comprising the Associate Deans for Research from each of the University?s four faculties. The Associate Vice President for Research, Professor Simon Gaskell, is also a key member of this Group and will be the MDBI Research Facilitator. This will ensure that the MDBI is placed at the heart of the University?s research decision making and strategic planning structure.

The University statutes specifically include the formation of Research Institutes spanning disciplines and faculties. Six have now been established, including the Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre, the Neuroscience Research Institute, and the Photon Science Institute. The University has also established cross-disciplinary initiatives in Imaging Sciences, Tissue Regeneration, and Integrated Bioinformatics and Health Informatics and is developing less formal Research Networks to promote the cross-disciplinary exchange of ideas, and the development of collaborative programmes.

Technical Summary

Our overall aim in proposing the Manchester Discipline Bridging Initiative is to ensure maximum opportunity and delivery of cross-disciplinary thought and research across the University of Manchester, leading to innovative advances that would not arise from within single disciplines alone. To do this we will:

1. Build upon the current strong cross-disciplinary ethos of the University.

2. Establish a programme of activities (including a cross-disciplinary seminar/workshop programme and ?sandpit? discussion fora) designed further to raise awareness of cross-disciplinary opportunities in the University by involving clinicians, life scientists, physical scientists, engineers, and social scientists.

3. Provide funds to promote new discipline-bridging research projects, using mechanisms that will include pump-priming of new projects, support of targeted temporary staff transfers between Schools and Institutes, and funding of Visiting Researchers to establish new areas.

In the first instance, the MDBI will be focused around three of the University?s most significant areas of cross-disciplinary research excellence: Systems Biology and Medicine; Neuroscience and Imaging; and Tissues Regeneration and Biomaterials.

The University of Manchester, formed in October 2004, is now the largest in the UK by many measures and is explicitly committed to promoting and supporting cross-disciplinary research through a range of newly developed mechanisms. These make the University very well suited to carrying forward the programme of activities set out in the MDBI proposal and to ensure that significant added value results from this.

Overall research strategy of the new University, including the promotion of cross-disciplinary work, is developed by a Group chaired by the Vice President for Research (Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell) and comprising the Associate Deans for Research from each of the University?s four faculties. The Associate Vice President for Research, Professor Simon Gaskell, is also a key member of this Group and will be the MDBI Research Facilitator. This will ensure that the MDBI is placed at the heart of the University?s research decision making and strategic planning structure.

The University statutes specifically include the formation of Research Institutes spanning disciplines and faculties. Six have now been established, including the Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre, the Neuroscience Research Institute, and the Photon Science Institute. The University has also established cross-disciplinary initiatives in Imaging Sciences, Tissue Regeneration, and Integrated Bioinformatics and Health Informatics and is developing less formal Research Networks to promote the cross-disciplinary exchange of ideas, and the development of collaborative programmes.
 
Description Grant Invention for Innovation (i4i)
Amount £465,000 (GBP)
Organisation National Institute for Health Research 
Department NIHR i4i Invention for Innovation (i4i) Programme
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Impact Pathfinder award
Amount £41,000 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2010 
End 02/2011
 
Description MIMIT
Amount £60,000 (GBP)
Organisation Manchester: Integrating Medicine and Innovative Technology (MIMIT) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2010 
End 03/2011
 
Description Value in People award
Amount £14,000 (GBP)
Organisation Wellcome Trust 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2011 
End 07/2011
 
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Description Demonstration of the use of fEITER (functional Electrical Impedance Tomography of Evoked Responses) technique under laboratory pain stimulus conditions (pilot study). 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Demonstrated feasibility of the use of this technique in a new application: human experimental pain research. Planning further studies with larger numbers. 
 
Title Method for measurement of metabolites of PET tracer 
Description Method developed to measure radiometabolites of one of the tracers used in PET imaging. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The method developed has contributed to the method currently used in practice at the imaging centre in Manchester. 
 
Description Clinical links with plastic surgeon in Manchester 
Organisation Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Biomaterials expertise for the development of novel biomaterials for use in peripheral nerve repair.
Collaborator Contribution Clinical expertise to translate the development of novel biomaterials for use in peripheral nerve repair from the lab to the patient.
Impact Submitted application for FP7 grant for a European consortium on nerve repair (awaiting outcome of the first stage). Result expected in Dec 2010. Multi-disciplinary: biomaterials, plastic surgery
Start Year 2010
 
Description Semantic Dementia carers group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Participants in your research and patient groups
Results and Impact We run a carers group for relatives of people with semantic dementia, and provide updates of research in regular meetings and newsletters.

Carers are kept informed of recent developments in semantic dementia research and how this may impact on them.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006,2007,2008,2009,2010
 
Description Visits to Photon Science Institute by school children 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact 4 separate visits by ~20 17 year olds each time to Photon Science Institute to attend talks and take part in lab sessions. Aim was to get them interested in Physics and how it can be applied to other areas - in this case Life Sciences (use of OCT, optical coherence tomography, to image skin of frogs to look for structural changes - i.e. applications in conservation).

Positive feedback from first events prompted organisation of more.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009,2010